APCD Courses

The Real Courses 1-6

   
Shinnecock Hills
Robert Miller
7029 yards. Par 70.
Difficulty Medium

USA Links

Apr 2007

2007 Course of the Year

Overall Rank 1st

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is a prestigious link-style golf club located in Southampton on Long Island, New York and is ranked up at number two on the latest Golf Digest US course list. It has hosted the US Open four times with winners including Ray Floyd in 1986, Corey Pavin 1995 and Retief Goosen in 2004. The club was founded in 1891 and was originally laid out by William Dunn Jr., and was redesigned by Charles B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor in around 1916, retaining five of Dunn's original holes, and redesigned again by Howard C. Toomey and William S. Flynn in 1931, retaining five of Macdonald and Raynor's holes and the green of a sixth hole. It is famous for the grand clubhouse which stands proudly visable over the rolling prairie like course. This apcd course simulation begun by Robert Miller with the 3d clubhouse following his completion of the Bethpage Black update. He was certainly the right man for this type of course, his planting effect is clearly suited to the rolling open landscape of waving grasses on the links style design, it is inspired and stunning to look at. A good selection of trees provide the backdrop at the fringes of the design, and the occasional unique tee-side tree is true to the original. The clubhouse is amazing, and really does make this course extra special. Playing the course is great fun, in true links style, your positional play is important and it definately benefits from a touch of wind blowing from the north-east. Greens here at the 2004 US Open was immensely fast, almost to the point of upsetting the professionals, and as the fairways are not all overly tight, it is good option to add the speed for a realistic and challenging game. This course is a prime example that the USA can produce a great links course, and Robert Miller has done a superb job of replicating it. This course is just real looking, with nice rope style bridges and fences but does not come with loads of frills and spectacular enhanced views, just a natural open links view of rolling grassland framing the fairways, and i love it.

   
     
Augusta National
Andrew Jones, Anders Bessermann, Mike Jones & Wayne Hewitt
7441 yards. Par 72.
Difficulty Hard

Pine Forest

Dec 2004 / Apr 2009

2004 Course of the Year

Overall Rank 2nd

Augusta National is arguably the most famous golfing venue in the world, host to The Masters major championship event, and number 2 on the Golf Digest course list. Originally created by Andrew Jones in 2001, a new version of this famous course has now been developed, spearheaded by Andrew and comprehensively assisted by Mike Jones, Wayne Hewitt and Anders Bessermann. Hardly any other course has had more care and attention lavished upon it to make it as accurate and as immersive as this one. Visually this is beautiful, its manicured look has been recaptured with excellent textures and blending. Enclosing the fairways are the tall pine trees, with splashes of bright colour from magnolia bushes, and small pink and white blossomed trees will be glimpsed to the edges of the holes, it really is a stunning sight. The tree planting here is superb, carefully done and nicely varied. The whole design and lay out is extremely accurate to the real thing, and captures the quite severe elevations of the course. White sand bunkers, doglegs and water hazards guard the toughest greens on the circuit. This version of the course has mapped the new yardages, making it an extremely challenging one to play within Links, sometimes frustrating and stressfull. There is no need really to describe the holes to you, suffice to say you are getting the most accurate representation of the course that has been done. The tournament option including clubhouses and grandstands are all included and modelled in 3D. The creation of this design has been the inspiration behind Andrew Jones' new Links modification called 1.06. This allows the green speeds and ball roll to closely match the real thing, whilst also allowing slightly longer drives off the tee. It really presents a new gaming option to players and is very realistic indeed. The download file includes an astonishingly comprehensive 49 page history and guide to Augusta by Tom Davidson. Never has a real course demanded as much attention to detail, or looked so perfect, and full justice has been done. Ultimately we are all in debt to those who have contributed to the furtherance of our beloved game through this immense project.
   
     
Merion (East)
Dexter Gresh
6577 yards. Par 70.
Difficulty Medium

Parkland

Nov 2003

2003 Course of the Year Runner Up

Overall Rank 3rd

The Merion Golf Club, East Course in Pennsylvania is one of the highest regarded courses in the world, and is ranked 7th on Golf Digest's 100 greatest American courses. The original course design was completed in 1911 by Hugh Wilson who drew on his Scottish roots to shape the course to include many steep Scottish style bunkers and wicker flagsticks. In 1930 Bobby Jones completed his grand slam win on this course with the US Amateur title. US Open major winners here include Ben Hogan in 1950, Lee Trevino in 1971 and David Graham when it was last held on the course in 1981. By todays standards this is a relatively short course, and its restrictions on spectator numbers make it perhaps an unlikely majors venue in the future. However its history and status as a top competition venue is assured. Dexter Gresh is possibly known to some links players for his release of Meadowood in May 2002, and this latest release is an absolute gem. The care and attention to detail that has gone into this creation is oozing from every screenshot, from the superb set of tree objects (including many wonderful custom made ones), through the excellent use of different ground textures and a patchwork of different wild dune grass plantings, to the beautiful double track paths that wind around the holes. It is truely realistic, and the water textures used for the rivers, and worn grass around the bunkers are fabulous. A lovely clubhouse area is viewed alongside the opening hole, and the other excellent main buildings around the course also add to the experience, with a main road also coming into view from time to time. Whilst the course is quite short, its par 70 ensures that it is no easy task to score well on, and the close proximity of trees and deep grass will always prove a threat to wayward shots. The course contains a lovely mix of straight holes, or left and right doglegs, with also a number of narrowing fairways to make the more daring drivers think twice, and it just plays so well and feels just right. The hole previews and start up screens are majestic and professional and just add to the feeling of playing what is a classic apcd course creation. This is an accurate and truely detailed and rather special real course design.
   
     
Pebble Beach
Chuck Clark
6840 yards. Par 72.
Difficulty Medium

Coastal

Jun 2005

2005 Course of the Year

Overall Rank 4th

Pebble Beach is one of the most famous courses in the world and is set around Stillwater cove in California. Ranked at number 5 on Golf Digests list, it is a regular tournament venue on the PGA Tour hosting the Pro-Am, and is also a classic venue for the US Open, boasting mature trees, tricky roller coaster greens and large bunkers, and uses the natural coastline location as direct hazards for a number of its awesome holes. Visually this course is one of the most impressive and beautiful in the world, with dramatic sea views creating a unique atmosphere. In 1972 Pebble Beach hosted its first US Open golf Championship which was won fittingly by Jack Nicklaus. In 1982 the US Open returned, and featured one of the most talked about battles between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, where Watson sunk a chip shot on the 17th to effectively win. 1992 saw Tom Kite victorious for his first major, and in 2000 it hosted the US Open for the 100th anniversary of the championship, where Tiger Woods captured the trophy beating his nearest competitor by a massive 15 strokes. This course famously features an amazing run of coastline holes from the new 5th hole through to the 10th, returning again for the most famous drive in golf at the 18th. Pebble Beach should be well known to most golf fanatics, and this recreation is not only extremely accurate but outstandingly beautiful too, complete with superb planting at ground level and fabulous buildings throughout (some are 3D courtesy of Pat Auge). The cliffside holes and views across the cove are magnificent. The greens here are small, and the rough set deep according to US Open traditions. The key to unlocking a decent score on the course will surely be in finding the fairways. This is a unique venue, and Chuck Clark has superbly crafted this accurate simulation, with realism just oozing from every view it really captures the way the fairway slopes make the approach shots extra tricky. His other releases such as Prairie Dog and Torres Pines South were also great courses, but this one tops them all and i am sure will be appreciated in the same breath as Augusta National.
   
     
Wagga Wagga
Wayne Hewitt
6749 yards. Par 72.
Difficulty Medium

Woodland

Jun 2004

2004 Course of the Year Runner Up

Overall Rank 5th

The Wagga Wagga Country Club is the follow up release to the highly regarded Tall Pine Estates by Wayne Hewitt. This is a real course first established in 1895 and set in New South Wales, Australia. What will strike you immediately you start playing is the detail to which the course has been recreated, not just what you can see in front of you, but the buildings, roads, power cables, drainage and signs that are located to the fringes of the course, and make it much more of a course venue simulation than a game. This is a woodland course, trees are in close proximity to the fairways and will often impact on your shot selections. The choice of planting is striking, and this is a generally a bright looking course with colourful foliage, a rare beast for links players, but not particularly autumnal in style, just beautiful to look at and packed full of excellent custom trees. At ground level the abundance of texturing is just about the best seen, with loads of different shades and comprehensive blending, and with long dry grass to the edges of the deeper rough. Unlike the designer, I havent ever played this course in real life, but this really does give you the feeling that Wayne has captured the course as close it can possibly be. Often real courses play a little on the easy side, but this one is clever and play is set seemingly just right, with doglegs, bunkers and criss-crossing streams impacting on your distances, you really do have to think your way around here. I find this a very immersive design, the whole feel of the course is of visual beauty, and at the end of the round is the added bonus of overlooking a superb lagoon panorama. It is worth noting that the tournament crowd option here is extensive, and just listen for all the local bird sounds too. This is a course packed full of little details, it looks extremely pretty, is somewhat unique too in its appearance and is so delightful to play.
   
     
The Brabazon at The Belfry
Dark Horse Team
7120 yards. Par 72.
Difficulty Medium/Easy

English Parkland

Apr 2003

2003 Course of the Year Runner Up

Overall Rank 6th

The Brabazon course at The Belfry is quite simply one of my favourite real life courses, designed by Peter Allis and Dave Thomas, it is the host course for the annual Benson & Hedges European Tour event, and features some quite fantastic holes for drama and risk reward. It is also the place for Europeans to enact the dramatic wins for the European Ryder Cup team in 1985 and 2002. The Links LS version has been around for a lifetime now, featuring the 1985 lay out, it still looks pretty good and is actually tougher to play than this newer lay out and design. However this apcd version is far and away the best version of the course ever made. This is the debut release for the Dark Horse Team comprising famous designer names John Pineda, Eddie Schmidt, Kevin Fraser, Lars Rudbeck, John Dudis, Andrew Jones, Anders Bessermann and Dlunatic, and the team approach has certainly worked well. If you follow golf then the course should need little explanation, a superb parkland challenge with plenty of water hazards, a most famous drivable par 4 at the 10th and a finishing hole which throws up a real nervy tee and approach shot. To play this course is a delight, and whilst this version is not overly tough, tweaking the conditions will truly yield a magnificent challenge. It is hard to see how this replica could have been made any better really, the parkland planting is consistent with the location, the wooden edging to the lakes and streams is excellent, and the 3 dimentional clubhouse, buildings and bridges are so accurate its an amazing credit to the team, and certainly enough to make your eyes light up when you see the clubhouse area. The new textures too are superb, and together with the mown grass lines it really works well, and the course even holds some subtle visual variations too in textures from hole to hole. Crowds are extensive in a Ryder Cup style to add a real atmosphere. I haven’t revealed too much of what you will see, you know by now how the course should look I’m sure, and this is an amazingly accurate replica. It is one of my favourite courses in real life and equally one of the greatest apcd designs ever made.
   
     

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